A FRAIL pensioner from Northwood has been left shaken after falling prey to a distraction burglar.
The elderly woman, who lives in Rofant Road, answered the door to a female claiming to be a new neighbour.
She conned her way into the house and stole the pensioner's handbag, which contained valuable items.
The offender is described as white, aged between 25-30 and about 5ft 6in tall. She had brown hair pulled back and was wearing a grey cardigan and grey skirt.
Police are appealing for witnesses and information about the incident, which took place on February 15 at about 7pm.
Detective Inspector Steve Leonard said: "Thankfully such crimes are rare, however these are normally targeted at the vulnerable, such the elderly, and it is very upsetting for them.
"When someone calls at your home, it is important to take your time. Don't be rushed. If you don't want to open your door you don't have to. If you do open the door, always put the chain on.
"Remember – you can always ask the person outside to come back when you have a neighbour or a relative with you."
Anyone with information is asked to call Hillingdon Police on 020 8246 1437 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
According to police, bogus callers succeed because they sound believable – they may say they are on official business from respectable firms such as gas, electricity or water, or the local council, or workmen carrying out urgent repairs.
Hillingdon police have issued the following advice to prevent becoming a victim of distraction burglary: Ensure your back door is locked before you go to your front door:
Think before you open the door – use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.
Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card with their photograph on. If you are unsure, call the company the caller claims to represent.
Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something in your rear garden or somewhere which may encourage you to leave your house – they may have an accomplice awaiting this distraction.
If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don't let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present.
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